Crew Spotlight: Red Feather Crew

Tommy Egland (Red Feather Crew Leader)

Favorite Picture:

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This photo is from the Comanche Peak wilderness week. And is from the third day on the hitch where when we were on the Browns Lake trail.

My favorite project this summer was the working on the Killpecker Trail. This was my favorite trail this summer because of the peak we were able to get on top of. We were able to look out over the whole Red Feather area and we got to the top of one of the tallest peaks in the area. It was nice to have a trail that went to a view rather than end at a random spot or at a road. This was also the most difficult trail in the area by far and it was nice to have a challenging day on trail.

My Favorite memory from the summer would have to be from the first week. We went to Rattlesnake Canyon outside Fruita and Grand Junction and attempted to go on a backpacking trip. This ideas was thwarted however by the fact there was no water, so even though we ran out of water we made it to the arches and eventually hiked out and a seven mile day turned into a 14 mile day with some of the best views I have ever seen.

Maggie Bolger (Red Feather Crew Member)

Favorite Picture:

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Favorite memory: My favorite part of my experience this summer was getting to know my crew over the few months that we spent working and living together. I especially enjoyed our time together after work watching movies, having fires, making food for my crew and walking down to West Lake to fish and watch the sun set.

Favorite work Project: One of my favorite projects this summer was when we went back to North Lone Pine to clear the nine down trees that we left. We finally got to put our cross cutting skills to use. I enjoy using the cross cut because it takes team work and it is a task that takes thinking through and strategy.

John Lunzer (Red Feather Crew Member)

Favorite Picture:

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Favorite picture: Picture of me and Maggie after we finished cross cutting the huge tree at the end of the lone pine trail.

Favorite moment: Second trip to lady moon when we were walking through the huge field. The wind was blowing the grass and the surrounding landscape was incredible. Made me realize how happy I was to be there.

Favorite work location: Swamp creek trail. Finally felt like we were getting out there and got to enjoy the trail in the middle of nowhere. The solitude was a nice change and the scenery was awesome.

Cortney Dodge (Red Feather Crew)

Favorite picture:

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Crossing the continental divide on top of flattop mountain then to the North Inlet trail to go camping in Grand Lake for the Fourth of July weekend. At the time it was the longest hike I had ever done and the most satisfying at the end of the day to finally take off my boots, eat an entire pizza myself, and sleep

Favorite memory: One weekend I went backpacking with a few members of the Estes crew. We trekked 6 miles and over 3,000 vertical feet up to the Boulderfield on Long’s peak. Exhausted when we arrived, one of our tent poles snapped while we were setting up at 9:00 pm. Our tent was in rough shape and would have collapsed had the wearer been anything but perfect. Luckily the night remained clear despite predicted storms at 11:00 pm.  In the morning we picked our way through the boulders to summit Storm Peak and then Mt. Lady Washington to get some unique views of the park. Afterwards we went down the other side of Mt. Lady Washington to Chasm Lake. The down climb  was the most sketchy and exciting thing I’ve ever done. Rocks and skree were shifting beneath my feet, threatening to send me into the lake below. You had to constantly think about your next move and the two hour ordeal was overwhelmingly mentally taxing. Looking back up the slope we came down made my head spin with awe and a fresh, profound respect for the Mountain.

Favorite work experience: Working backcountry in the Comanche Peak Wilderness with the Rawah Crew was without  a doubt my favorite work experience. I had never been backcountry before and up until that point, I had a mild fear of it. But camping next to the reservoir  on forest service land, pumping water every morning and working/exploring the alpine trails in the area quickly whipped away all my fear. The trails themselves were incredible, with views of the Rawah Wilderness as well as several of the mountains in Red Feather where we had been working all summer. One day after work a few of us summited a rolling peak above tree line to get a 360 panoramic of the Mummy Range, Rocky (we even saw trail ridge road on one of the mountains!), the Never Summer range, the Rawah Wilderness, the Poudre Canyon, Red Feather, and way off in the distance, a mountain range in Wyoming. Before working there I had no idea that such a compete view of northern Colorado’s mountains existed, and the memories I made camping and working on the trail with our two crews will stick with me for a lifetime.

Galen Elisha (Red Feather Crew Member)

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Favorite memory: On the Fourth of July weekend this year I hiked up and over the continental divide, from Estes Park to Grand Lake, for a backpacking trip.  This hike was 18 miles and required I bring at least 40 pounds of gear with me.  A mixing of the RMC’s Estes crew and Red Feather Lakes crew made the journey. The trip consisted of several obstacles to overcome.  The first being that, on the morning before the journey I had discovered my backpack had a torn shoulder strap.  Being the resourceful type (sort of) I grabbed my 11th backpacking essential (duct tape) and made some emergency repairs.  These repairs were quick and not the most well oriented, but they more or less worked.  The only issue with them was that it left my bag hopelessly unbalanced, meaning I had to put in much more effort on balancing my pack on my shoulders than hiking.  This did slow me down, but I persevered and pushed through.

My second challenge for the day was the honey (for my sandwiches) spilling on the inside of my bag.  This left most of my gear a sticky mess.  While this wasn’t much of an obstacle for hiking it certainly didn’t help morale.  This leaves the final obstacle for hike, a very large bull elk right in the middle of the trail.  The elk remained on trail for a solid 45 minutes.  He was a rather inspiring sight; however his presence put the trail on hold and put our crew behind schedule (a problem when your schedule includes hiking for 9 hours, just hoping for the chance to have a feast in Grand Lake).

Combining all three of these obstacles, I was certainly hurting at the end of the hike.  However every ache and pain was worth it.  I had such a sense of accomplishment and pride.  I knew I had done something great and felt incredible.  We all collapsed at the end of our trail and basked in the glow of our achievement.  To finalize our goal we worked up the last of our strength, got up, and strolled into to town to find some of the best pizza of our lives (more so from the exhaustion than the pizza itself, but nevertheless it was amazing)

Favorite work experience: The Comanche Peak Wilderness was, without a doubt, the best experience of the summer.  That week will forever remain as a vivid memory etched into the back of my skull.  Working for the Rocky Mountain Conservancy resulted in a lot of scenic views and that is what made the job worth all of the sweat and hard labor.  The second to last week of the internship the Rawah and Red Feather Lakes crews collaborated on a back country hitch in the Comanche Peak Wilderness and I was lucky enough to join this expedition.  All around me was lush forest, majestic views, and fresh air.  Out of all of these views, one stands above the rest.

On the Wednesday of that week the crews went to work the Browns lake trail.  The trail took a steady ascent past Browns Lake into the alpine tundra. By following this trail, the tundra pointed to a peak that stood above a wide open valley.  Without hesitation we continued working the trail, knowing we would be rewarded heavily at the summit.  Once on top we were gifted with a view like no other.  The summit allowed us a three hundred sixty degree view, where we could see the Rawah Mountains, the Bald Peaks, the Mummy Mountain Range, and Rocky Mountain National Park.  It was like standing above giants and existing on a plain of existence that is incomparable to others.

As far as the eye could see, there were picturesque mountains that were so awe inspiring that everything else seemed to fade away.  The pain in my legs was but a distant memory. The cold wind against my face felt distant and unimportant.  Every one fell quiet and just enjoyed ourselves.  This was the kind of view that leaves the mind blank, except for an extreme sense of joy and an overwhelming feeling of just how lucky one person can be.  This view was by far my favorite experience while working.

Dominic Rickicki (Red Feather Crew Member)

Favorite Picture:

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My favorite memory from the summer is going out on a backcountry hitch wth the Rawah crew. We spent a lot of time with them throughout the summer because they were so close to us and we also did our training with them. We became so close in fact that we created the name “Redwah” as if our crews were one. During that hitch we were able to cover a lot of miles of trail and drain a lot of muddy sections of trail, all while keeping our sense of humor and having a great time.

My favorite project from this summer was the turnpike we built on the Mt. Margaret trail in Red Feather. It was one of the first projects that we had done, but despite our inexperience we fixed a heavily damaged section of trail. About a month and a half after completing the turnpike I went on a bike ride down the trail after work and was pleased to see it had settled and was holding up to a lot of abuse from stock and cattle.

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